Much of life consists of waiting.
Waiting in line.
Waiting for the traffic light to change.
Waiting for test results.
Waiting to get a job.
Waiting to retire.
Waiting to die.
Waiting often seems to be a waste of time. It’s monotonous. Boring. It can even stir up anger when what we hope for doesn’t seem to come; when the driver in front of us fails to move ahead fast enough after the light turns green.
And so we wait. And wait.
But what if waiting has a positive edge to it? If it’s a time for germination; budding deeper roots; sifting and sorting. Maturing. Transforming. What if waiting has a purpose: inner growth.
When springtime comes we scatter tiny bits of lifeless grass seed on fallow ground. The seed sits atop the soil. We water and watch it transform hoping it will take root and sprout. There’s a sense of wonder and hope as we stalk the seed each day looking for evidence of green peaking from beds of brown dirt.
The waiting is necessary for the seed to sink into the soil, to drink in water, and ripen with the richness of daily sun. At night the seed rests allowing itself to descend in the quiet.
Growing in the moonlight.
Our waiting invites a similar pausing. It invites us into quiet.
Growing in solitude.
And if not resisted, waiting can be purposeful, helping us evolve toward wholeness.
At 55 I am waiting to retire. Hoping to write and teach and mentor full time. But a full time career as a lawyer and the necessity of paying the mortgage does not allow for retirement yet. It’s not time. The ripening, nor I, has not yet matured.
There is too much I need to learn before I close the office door for the last time. I need to learn how to avoid becoming cynical as a result of mine and other’s failures. I need to learn how to accept others and myself as we are, here and now without judgment.
I need to learn how to let the dents of life, the daily grind of dealing with people lead me into deeper compassion, understanding and truth. I need to learn how to let go of the pain of life by focusing on its parallel beauty.
Perhaps if we saw waiting as an invitation to grow it would not seem so tedious, so useless and frustrating.
Instead we might learn to descend into the soil of our lives: our soul, and develop a greater ability to hear the voice of wisdom embedded within us.
We might learn that taking time for solitude and quiet each day, meditating on words of inspiration and encouragement to drown out the negativity of life, are the nutrients we need to sprout new roots and deepen our joy.
Perhaps we might even come to understand and trust that our life is unfolding exactly as it is supposed to; that as we wait during those fallow times of our lives there is much that is being accomplished however hidden it might seem.
What are you waiting for in your life right now?
How is the waiting inviting you to grow?